Welcome to the Rangoon cruise port guide. Yangon is the official name of the city although often Rangoon is still used. It is the former capital of Myanmar, while it is still the largest city with a population of over 5 million. Yangon is an intense city with a fascinating street culture that is always entertaining. Walking around in a city like this you never know what to expect around the corner. Vendors, meetings, haircuts blend in in between the countless tea shops on the side walks.
Burma is a country that has captured our imaginations for years. What in the 19th century was a prosperous and mighty country would become one of the poorest countries in the world. The regime is especially a touchy subject when talking about this country. Myanmar would write history in the 20th century. It is a country that has been isolated from the rest of the world for decennias. Now a new age has come and it now has the opportunity to prove they are on the road to greater democracy.
Just recently Myanmar has opened itself up again and slowly on even the cruise ships are coming back. For the reason it has been closed for so long it is still a raw and unspoiled experience. People on the street are happy to see the tourists and yet they are not quit sure what to do with them. If Myanmar is on your list, go fast, because thing are about to change.
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Cruise Port Guide Thilawa – Rangoon – Myanmar: docked
Most cruise ships will dock at the port of Thilawa which is also known as MITT: Myanmar International Terminal Thilawa. Your ship will have to sail up the river for about 3 hours before it reaches the dock in Thilawa. It is a busy port, especially petrol industry and imported cars from Japan seem to be the business around here. For this reason there is no walking allowed in the port area. Most ships will only run a shuttle bus service to the exit of the port. This is where you are able to find 1 small street with some basic, local restaurants and taxis.
If you are not booked on a shore excursions your options are a bit limited. From the exit of the port the local train and bus are not withing walking distance and therefore you will need to take a taxi to get anywhere.
Taxis at Thilawa
The taxis in Yangon are often white and they always have a taxi sign on top. The taxis do not have a meter and therefore you will need to negotiate with them. The price for a taxi into town ranged between 20 – 50 USD depending on the supply and demand of the taxis. Usual price is 40 USD one way and 80 USD for return. Although if you are the best of bargainers it should be 20 USD one way. This is about the best information we can give you. A day trip to Bago will probably get you up to 120 USD for the day. Most taxis only fit 4 people in it.
Truth it, it all depends on the moment, situation and on you. Use this information as a basic and be open minded. To go to the city centre of Yangon ask for the Sule Pagoda. This is a central spot to be dropped off.
Do’s & Don’ts:
-Respect the culture:
-Smile back if someone gives you a smile,
-Tilt your head a little hwen greeting elders,
-Use right hand and touch your elbow with you left hand to pass articles and demonstrate politeness,
-Keep your legs down while sitting, especially if you are sitting with older people.
-Though Myanmar people are friendly, they are still largely conservative. So don’t show physical affection such as kissing and hugging when in public
– Remove footwhear when in a religious place
– Wear modest clothing that covers knees, elbows, shoulders and chests.
– Don’t offer to shake hands with monks, women should not touch monks altogheter.
– Be discrete: limit photography
– Never use your legs in pointing of showing Buddha statue and shrine.
– Street-side foods with small stalls are mostly unhealthy, we recommend not to eat here.
– Change your money in town.
– US dollars officially need to be clean and crisp. Check your bills to see if there are no rips of stains on them.
Destination and distance:
Thanlyin 9 km / 20 min drive to the north
Yangon city centre 30 km / 60 to 90 min drive to the north
Bago 115 km / 2 hrs and 15 min drive to the north
Official currency – Kyat
Accepts Us dollars – are often accepted
Creditcards – are not widely accepted
Drives on the – right
Timezone – UTC +6.30
Inhabitants – 51 million
Official language – Burmese
Capital city – Naypyidaw
Republic of the Union of Myanmar
Government – Unitary presidential republic
– How far is the city centre?
30 km to the north or 60 to 90 minute drive.
– Can I pay with US dollars?
Most things you can pay for with US dollars.
– Where can I find wi-fi?
Not anywhere around the port. You will need to go into town.
– What do the people have on their faces?
Some people in Myanmar have a lotion they put on their faces for cosmetic reasons, but also to protect their skin from the sun and give it its vitamins.
– Is it safe to eat in Myanmar?
Yes, it is, but use your common sense. Typically the saller street vendors are not suitable to eat at.
– Can I wear socks in the Pagoda?
No, you cannot.